Indian-origin dad cleared of murdering infant son after 19 yrs

44-year-old Dinesh Kumar was wrongly implicated  in the death of his son Gaurav due to the mistake of a prominent pathologist, who had claimed that the infant had been "shaken to death," the Ontario Court of Appeal here observed yesterday, while quashing his conviction and acquitting him outright.

Wiping his tears after the court verdict, Kumar said he has lived under stigma all these years because of his false conviction for criminal negligence in the death of his son in 1992.

"I am very happy," said Kumar, who trained as a goldsmith in Punjab and migrated to Canada in 1991, only to find himself quickly entangled in a legal nightmare.

Speaking on behalf of a three-judge panel, Justice Marc Rosenberg told Kumar, the court recognises "the terrible toll this case has taken on you and your family over these last 20 years," Toronto Star' reported.

"We can now say the conviction in your case was unreasonable," he told Kumar, who was accompanied by his wife Veena and son Saurob, 19.

Forensic experts from North America and England, who had examined the evidence in the case since 2006, concluded that Gaurav probably died of natural causes resulting from a birth injury.

In 1992, Dr Charles Smith, once Canada's superstar of paediatric forensic pathology, concluded after performing an autopsy that the child had been shaken to death.
Kumar was charged with second-degree murder.

Despite the seriousness of the charge, the Crown offered him a deal just six months into the case, telling Kumar that if he pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death, he would get a 90-day jail sentence to be served on weekends.

Kumar says he entered the plea bargain to avoid deportation to India and separation from his wife and elder son.

In a 2008 expert inquiry, Smith, the pathologist on whose testimony Kumar was convicted, was found responsible for several false conclusions which led to wrong convictions in many cases, including that of Kumar.

Armed with this inquiry report, Kumar's lawyer approached the Ontario Court of Appeal in Toronto.

After hearing both the defence and prosecution lawyers, the court acquitted Kumar yesterday.

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